ILO declaration underlines importance of social dialogue and “human-centred approach”

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(2 July 2019) At the end of this year’s conference on 21 June the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted its Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work. The declaration stresses the importance of adopting a “human-centred approach” to policies that address the three main challenges of climate, digital and demographic change.

The declaration is an acknowledgement by trade unions, employers and governments of the importance of “strong, influential and inclusive mechanisms of social dialogue”, contributing to the social cohesion and crucial for a well-functioning and productive economy.

The declaration emphasises the need for macroeconomic policies whose central objective is to achieve “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”

The ILO wants to see decent work for all achieved through a range of initiatives, including:

  • realising gender equality in opportunities and treatment;
  • effective lifelong learning and quality education for all;
  • universal access to comprehensive and sustainable social protection;
  • respect for workers’ fundamental rights;
  • an adequate minimum wage;
  • maximum limits on working time;
  • safety and health at work;
  • policies that promote decent work, and enhance productivity; and
  • policies and measures that ensure appropriate privacy and personal data protection, and respond to challenges and opportunities in the world of work relating to thae digital transformation of work, including platform work.

Commenting on the declaration, EPSU general secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan said: “It is important that the ILO used its centenary conference to restate and update its core principles that are crucial to protecting workers as they face the new world of work. We want to see this taken on board by the European Union, particularly in its economic policies and we expect the new Commission and Parliament to facilitate a strengthening of collective bargaining rights.”

He added: “The challenge for trade unions will continue to be to hold employers and governments to account when they infringe these principles. As the ITUC Global Rights Index showed earlier this month this remains a major task for unions to address. Building union power and strengthening solidarity is our common answer to these attacks on workers’ rights."

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